Wednesday, December 5, 2018

As we approach the New Year it is a great time to buy a new home. If sellers are listed at this time of year, you know they need to sell and there’s sure to be less competition when making offers.

Would you like to do a Rent vs. Own Comparison? Need to get Prequalified? Wondering what the current rates are? Interested in Prepayment Savings? All this can be discovered on my webpage, click here.

If you prefer to meet face to face contact me at 919-762-3502 and we can set up an appointment today.

I highly recommend hiring a realtor to help you. The seller typically pays the realtor and they work for you, helping you negotiate the contract and find the perfect home.

Happy House Hunting!

Shellie King
Senior Mortgage Banker/NMLS # 919284
First Citizens Bank


Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Front Porch Realty chatted with local veteran lender Alex Macklin about finding the right mortgage for your needs. Alex has been a community leader in Fuquay-Varina and Holly Springs for over 20 years and is wonderful at explaining the mortgage process to our clients.

Finding the right mortgage financing program for your new home or construction/permanent project can be complex. Allow me to navigate the complex mortgage products for you and tailor the best financing option for your needs.
With over 20 years of experience in the mortgage business, I can help connect you with the right resources to ensure a positive experience.
From the first-time buyer to the seasoned buyer and even the person who wants to build a new home, I can help prepare you so that you enter into the home buying/building process with confidence.
I encourage clients to take advantage of my free loan pre-qualification service and to make this your first step in the home buying process. The Real Estate market is blazing hot right now and there are multiple offers coming in for most homes on the market. It is important to have your ducks in a row when you are ready to make an offer so that you can increase your odds of having the winning bid. Most purchase offers must be accompanied by a loan pre-qualification letter to ensure that you are a serious and qualified buyer. Don’t lose your opportunity to buy the home of your dreams by skipping this important first step.
Since 1950, United Community Bank, “The Bank That Service Built” has provided our clients with the service level of a community bank but with the resources of a larger bank. UCB offers all of the standard Conventional, FHA, USDA and VA loan programs but we also offer niche portfolio products that help us offer financing to a broader client base.
One example is a cost savings single-close construction to permanent program for clients who wish to build and finance a new home. By closing the construction and permanent loan at one single attorney closing, there are no additional fees at the end of the process. The program also allows for a one time float down option on the interest rate when the home is complete so you can capture the best rate the market has to offer while at the same time receiving rate protection during the construction period.
Other unique product offerings include:
• Conforming and Jumbo Portfolio loans
• Special 100% financing programs with no Mortgage Insurance for Medical Doctors and Dentists
• PATH affordable housing program for the purchase of an owner occupied primary residence with 100% financing, fixed interest rate and no mortgage insurance for certain census tracks within United Community Bank’s footprint

Join me and the team at Front Porch Realty to make homeownership a reality!
Alex Macklin
Vice-President/Sr. Mortgage Loan Originator
United Community Bank Mortgage Services
325 N. Judd Parkway, Suite 200
Fuquay-Varina, NC 27526

Phone: 919-586-3115
Website: United Community Bank

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

We recently had an opportunity to catch up with Eric Coates of Detailed Home Inspections Inc. about the affects that water can have on your home. Here is what he shared with us.

Water is not your house’s friend!

I really do love my job. However, there are days that I do not like my job. Hurricane Matthew came
through our area in 2016. It dumped 10 inches of rain that day. I had the privilege of performing two
home inspections that day! I am a Boy Scout – so, I am prepared for the rain. I have a good rain suit,
waterproof boots, waterproof equipment/tools, etc. However, having the right equipment does not
make it any easier to work in the rain. Even though I may not like it, I can learn a LOT about a house in
the rain.

Other than people, water causes more problems to a house than any anything else. Your house is made
of many materials that can decay and/or be damaged by water. Water is not your house’s friend! If you
don’t manage the water at your house, it will cause problems. Houses are built to keep water out and
to keep water away. You need to maintain your house so that it keeps the water out and away.
There are many things that you can check yourself. Here is a beginning list. Once you do all of this,
contact me and I will be glad to help you create a longer list!

1. Look through your attic for stains. Take a flashlight up there and scan through the attic looking
for stains. Take a close look at roof penetrations such as plumbing vent pipes, exhaust pipes,
bathroom fan pipes, etc. Turn the lights off and look for signs of light in the attic. Naturally, you
will see light at the attic vents and you may see indirect light at the roof penetrations. But,
make sure you do not have a beam of light coming it. If there is an HVAC unit or a water heater
in the attic, look at the equipment and around the equipment for stains or signs of leaks.

2. Get a pair of binoculars and check out your roof. Stand at a distance and scan back and forth
over your roof. Look for damaged/broken/missing shingles. Look at the roof penetrations for
signs of problems.

3. Look around the exterior at the siding/trim for decay. Decayed wood can allow water
infiltration, which will cause more decay. Water infiltration can cause damage to the structural
components that you cannot see. If wood is cracked, it may not be decayed but it can be on the
path to becoming decayed. Take a close look at areas where two types of materials touch each
other such as siding and wood. Look for cracks/gaps in seams/junctions.

A properly installed gutter and splash block diverts water away from a house.

4. Walk around your house one day in the rain. It is not going to hurt you to get wet! Check to see
how the water is running off the roof and out of the gutters/downspouts. Look at the water on
the ground and make sure that it is draining away from the house. Water NEEDS to run AWAY
from your house.

A healthy, dry crawl space should not look like this!

5. Now, here is the hard part – GO IN YOUR CRAWL SPACE! I will tell you ahead of time – there are
spiders in your crawl space. There may be other animals – so, be careful. Make a lot of noise –
talk to yourself and bang on the wood components. Any animal that is in there will want to get
away from you. If you run into an animal, LEAVE! There are many problems that can happen in
your crawl space. Before you go in the crawl space, run water through every plumbing fixture,
i.e. sinks, toilets, showers, clothes washer. Look around the crawl space for signs of water. Is
there condensation on the HVAC air ducts/equipment or the floor structure? Is there water on
the ground/plastic? Is the insulation hanging/dangling/drooping? Does it smell musty?

Regularly inspecting your crawl space can help you spot leaking pipes before they have time to do serious damage.

6. When you run water through the plumbing fixtures, look for leaks. Get into the cabinet under
the sinks and look for any leaks. Look around/under the toilet. Look at the ceilings below the
bathroom for stains. Make sure that you don’t have any leaks.

This is a beginning list of things to check. But, this covers a lot of the items that can allow water into
your house. Once you start looking at these items, you will learn what is normal and what is abnormal.
It will get easier with practice. If you have questions, take a picture and send it to us. We will try to help
you with it. If you are not comfortable doing these things, we can help you with that too! Go forth and
check out your house.


Eric Coates
NC Licensed Home Inspector
Detailed Home Inspections Inc.

Filed under: Guest Blog Post
Wednesday, August 16, 2017



Front Porch Realty recently sat down and spoke with Corey Mullen, at Clay Hamilton’s State Farm Insurance in Fuquay Varina, about the importance of having homeowners insurance and how it works.

Your home is your refuge after a long day of work. It’s the hub of everything that really matters, where you can relax with your family. So you shouldn’t trust just any company to protect it. You should go with an insurer with the financial strength to cover a wide variety of losses, trusted by more homeowners than any other insurer. That’s State Farm®. When the unexpected hits home, a good neighbor can help.

Think of homeowners insurance as financial protection for what the future might bring. For example, if your home were damaged by a fire, or burglars broke in and stole your belongings, your policy could help pay to rebuild your home or replace your possessions.
Without a policy, you’d have to cover those expenses out of your own pocket. So if you’re a homeowner, homeowners insurance is an absolute necessity.

What’s covered?

Your policy could help pay for a variety of property and liability claims:
• Your house: This includes your home and other structures on your property, such as a detached garage or a shed.
• Your possessions: This includes personal belongings inside your home, such as your clothing, furniture, and electronics—and with limitations—certain valuables. It could even cover belongings you take with you while away from home.
• Financial protection against lawsuits: In certain situations, your State Farm Homeowners Policy could help protect your finances by paying for damages which you’re legally responsible for, and even your legal defense. For example, the policy could help cover legal defense costs if a visitor accidentally got hurt at your place and took you to court.

Other costs covered by the policy
Your policy may also help pay for:
• Removal of your damaged property after a fire, or other loss covered by the policy.
• Temporary repairs necessary to protect covered property from more damage.
• Extra expenses for your household to live elsewhere, if your home is uninhabitable because of damage covered by the policy.

What’s not covered?

• Water damage caused by flood.
• Liability for business-related activities
• Liability for intentional injury or property damage
• Damage caused by earthquake or mudslide
You may want to talk to your agent about a separate earthquake policy.
With coverage directly through the federal government. There is generally a 30-day waiting period for the policy to go into effect


A “deductible” is the amount that you are responsible for when you file a claim. Your deductible can be a fixed amount, such as $1,000 or $2,000, or a percentage of the coverage amount, such as one or two percent. So if your home is covered for $200,000 and you have a one percent deductible, your deductible is $2,000.

Here’s how a deductible works: say you file a claim for $10,000 after a burglary, and you had chosen a fixed amount deductible of $1,000. So the policy covers you for $9,000 and you are only responsible for $1,000.

Generally, the higher your deductible, the lower your premium. But with a higher deductible, your financial responsibility would be higher if you file a claim. Your agent can help you determine the deductible that’s right for you.

Coverage Caps

Your State Farm Homeowners Policy has coverage limits on certain types of property, such as computers, collectibles, jewelry, and other valuables.

Here’s an example: Suppose your home had been broken into and your computer and printer were stolen. If the policy limit for home computers and equipment was $5,000, the policy would reimburse you up to that limit after your deductible has been met.

How much coverage will you need?

The choice is yours, but State Farm recommends you choose a coverage limit at least equal to your home’s estimated replacement cost: the amount necessary to rebuild your entire home. (The replacement cost isn’t the same as the market value, which is the price you can expect your home to yield on the market.)

If you choose a coverage amount less than the estimated replacement cost, you may not be eligible for certain coverages. Since no one can say what the exact cost will be to replace your home in the future, you’ll need enough coverage to account for unforeseen circumstances.

For a replacement cost estimate, you can ask a contractor, hire a professional replacement cost appraisal service, or ask your State Farm agent to help you develop an estimate. Make sure to point out any architectural details or unique building materials that affect your estimate.

As your life changes, your home may change along with it. We recommend you review your homeowners’ coverage if:
• You move, improve your existing home, or build a new home.
• You add a fire and/or burglar alarm system.
• You purchase items—such as home computers, jewelry, and furs—that might exceed your basic coverage.

To help make sure your coverage is up to date, it’s a good idea to review your policy with your agent every year.
Extra coverage you just might need. Depending on your situation, you may need separate, broader coverage for additional financial protection.

Have concerns about your personal liability? A Personal Liability Umbrella Policy (PLUP) for extra liability coverage in increments of $1 million, in case you’re sued for damages that exceed your State Farm Homeowners or Auto Policy liability limits.
Own jewelry, fine arts or other valuables? Other policy options or a Personal Articles Policy (PAP), which can give you higher coverage limits or broader protection.
Work out of your home? Other policy options for home business coverage, which may cover your business-related property and liability. You may also want to consider a separate, more comprehensive business policy for your home-based business.
Want to protect yourself against identity fraud? Adding the Identity Restoration Coverage Endorsement to your State Farm Homeowners Policy. It offers coverage for specific expenses caused by identity fraud and case management services to help counteract the effects of identity fraud.

Clay Hamilton and Corey Mullen are available to answer all of your insurance questions.


Clay Hamilton Jr Insurance Agency Inc.


Clay Hamilton, Agent

1000 N Main Street Suite 101
Fuquay Varina, NC 27526

Phone: 919-586-7828


License: NC-7967940
State Farm Bank® NMLS #: 139716
NMLS ID#: 145495
MLO License#: I-153271

Cory Mullen, Insurance and Financial Sales Advisor

1000 N Main Street Suite 101
Fuquay-Varina, N.C 27526

Office 919-586-7828

Cell at 919-356-3607

Thursday, July 6, 2017

What It Means to Bank Local

We chatted with Janice Durham, VP, Branch Manager of the Fuquay-Varina First Bank location, about what it means to bank locally and keep your dollars not only in state but right in your own hometown.

Banking local and shopping local share the same goal: to ensure your dollars have the largest impact on your community. Reports show that of every $100 spent at locally owned businesses, $68 goes straight bank into the community (compared to $43 when shopping at a large chain).

Similarly, by choosing a local bank over a large, national bank means that your dollars stay here for investment in small business development; in the organizations that lend and provide services to your friends, family, or neighbors; and in the community itself.

What Makes a Community Bank Different?

What people might not know about community banks is that at our core, written in our charter, is our commitment to invest our time and resources in the towns and cities we’re in. This means you’ll not only know our bankers, because they’re your friends and neighbors, but you’ll also seem them out at local events and working with area nonprofits.

We take great pride in the hours of volunteering and the money donated to local causes by the staff in our branches, and we know our bank can prosper only when the communities we serve prosper. As a community bank, we are motivated every day to proactively mend the fabric of our neighborhoods while supporting growth in the local economy.

And in most cases, it means warmer, friendlier, personal service.  That’s true at a mom and pop restaurant or hardware store on the main street in your small town, and it’s true for banks.  It’s hard to know your customers and truly care about them if you are managing a banking operation from another state.  We know our clients and we work to find individualized solutions when they have financial needs—and most importantly, those decisions are made here.

Side note: be sure to check out our Dream it, Do It campaign at HERE and see how we’re donating to local charities and helping our customers’ dreams come true!

What About Financing?

The process itself is similar in that we all follow federal lending guidelines, but again, the experience is completely different at a local bank.

It’s impossible to place a value on having a person with whom you have a relationship, who you can call when there are questions during the lending process, helping to lead you through a complex process. If you opt to use an online service, or even a large national bank, I’m not sure where you go when there is a question or problem.

With a local bank, you have a personal banker who has taken the time to learn about your family and your business needs and you can reach them directly to collaborate on a solution. So whether it’s for personal banking or for your business, we can offer better service and better understanding of your needs by a person who cares about your success and is driven to help.

How to Get Started

The first step is really just to walk into your local branch of a community bank (or call or visit the website, but we’d really like to meet you in person). Your personal banker will want to hear about what you hope to do, be it as simple as opening a savings account or buying a new home, or as complex as a business loan to turn your dream into a reality.

And they will guide you through the process to bring that dream to fruition.  We are standing by, ready to help, just tell us what you hope to do and enjoy having a personal banker at your disposal.


Since 1935, First Bank has remained committed to the idea that our customers are meant to achieve financial independence, to prosper, and to pursue the passions that drive their dreams. Our bank rewards this passion with award-winning financial solutions and support from local teams that give you the individual attention you deserve and empower you to reach your financial goals. It’s uncompromising excellence in a remarkably personal package. Member FDIC, Equal Housing Lender.

Janice L. Durham

NMLS# 1314662

Vice President
First Bank
Fuquay Varina Branch Manager
135 N. Main Street
Fuquay Varina, NC 27526

Phone: 919-577-9001



Filed under: Community | Guest Blog Post
Wednesday, June 28, 2017

This week we have a “Guest Post” written by one of our Mortgage Professionals, Jennifer Miller with Sierra Pacific Mortgage Company.

To Buy or Not to Buy?


You’ve heard the news reports on the housing market in our lately – low inventory, good prices, quick sales – and maybe you’re wondering where you fit into this latest market swing.

We should probably start with the news reports.  Yes, it’s true that in some price ranges, namely homes priced under $300,000 there is low inventory.  The same cannot be said for higher priced homes, especially those priced above $500,000; there are still plenty of homes available at that price point.  And yes, the appraisals are coming back at reasonable levels; meaning that in many cases the appraised value and the sales price are matching up; although that’s not always the case.  As far as quick sales, well that depends on how you define “quick”.  Most people are closing in the normal 30 to 45 day range.


When you’ve got a home to sell…

So, should you pursue your dream home, or the home that’s closer to work so that you can eliminate that 45 minute commute you face twice daily?  Putting your house on the market requires effort, commitment and sometimes, money.

The effort and money come in once you’ve had a Realtor to your home for a preliminary meeting.  The first order of business is deciding whether you feel comfortable listing your home at a price comparable to what other homes in your area are selling for.  If the answer is yes, then it’s likely that your Realtor will want you to change or improve your home in a few areas.  You may need to “de-clutter” and pack away your belongings that you’re not using every day to make the home appear larger.  You may be asked to paint, install new carpet or work on the landscaping to improve the homes’ curb appeal.  Depending on how handy you are; you may be able to do some, or all of those things yourself; without having to pay a professional.  Certainly, that is the least expensive way to go.  If you can’t do these things on your own or if you’re too busy to attempt them you may find yourself shelling out up to $2,500.00 to cover these costs.


This is where the commitment component kicks in: if you’re not really committed to selling your home, chances are that you’re not going to be very motivated to get all this work done.  Realtors are fairly savvy these days when it comes to assessing their clients’ needs and wants.  If you want a nicer home but you don’t really need one your Realtor may decide that you’re not the right client for them.


What if you’re not currently a home owner?

Maybe you’re a young professional who’s never owned a home before, or maybe you owned a home previously in another state or at a different time in your life.  If you’re wondering whether a good time to buy is now, the short answer is yes!

As I said at the beginning there is some low inventory with homes priced under $300,000.00; however, if you don’t look for a home then you surely won’t fine one, and there are homes to be found even in that price range.  So what else do you need to consider in a home purchase?  First, do you have enough money to buy a home?



The Price Tag…..

There are several loan programs available that will get you into a home for zero or a very low down payment with reasonable interest rates.  But you will need to have some cash to cover expenses like the appraisal ($450) which is paid upfront and out-of-pocket in the home buying process.  You will also need money for closing costs, which come due on the day you sign the promissory note at closing.


If you don’t have enough cash to cover the closing costs, talk to your realtor about negotiating these into the sales contract.  There is an easy way to handle this scenario.  Let’s say that you want to purchase a home that’s listed at $187,500.00.  You would like to pay $185,000 for the house and you know that you need $5,000 to help cover closing costs.  Simply ask your Realtor to write the offer to purchase for $190,000 with the seller paying $5,000 in closing costs.


Show me the Money…

But how do you know how much closing costs are going to be?  And, how do you know if you earn enough money to be able to qualify for a mortgage loan to begin with?  Now we come to the crux of the matter.  The best way to answer these questions is to call me and start the application process.  With just a little information, I can quickly see if you can be prequalified for a mortgage loan.  I can also make sure that you’re taking advantage of the best loan programs available.

Home-ownership is part of the American dream; and with interest rates still at historically low levels now is a great time to explore your options.  Call me today and let’s get started on getting you into the home of your dreams!






Jenny Miller
Loan Officer
NMLS: 1054076

Sierra Pacific Mortgage Company
6736 Falls of Neuse Road Suite 120
Raleigh, NC 27615

Phone: 919-448-5355



Sierra Pacific Mortgage Company, Inc. NMLS # 1788. Licensed in North Carolina L-127865. Sierra Pacific Mortgage Company, Inc. is not affiliated with the Real Estate Agent and/or Brokerage identified in this advertisement, you are not required to use Sierra Pacific Mortgage Company, Inc. to obtain mortgage financing. This advertisement is provided for informational purpose only. Not all borrowers will qualify. This is not a commitment to lend. [Insert and program and/or additional disclaimers]. Equal Housing Lender.




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